A humble stone mason of Kasargod in Kerala is scripting history by building a much-needed hospital, utilising his hard-earned savings, at his village Cheruvathur for the welfare of the people. Kannankayi Kunjiraman, 53, of Cheruvathur in Kasargod aims to provide accessible healthcare to the local community at the hospital which he has set up at his six cent plot near Cheruvathur railway station. The hospital will be inaugurated on June 25.
Kunjiraman, a sixth standard drop out who took up stone masonry work right from the age of 14, decided to construct the hospital at his village after facing a personal experience that exposed the flaws of the healthcare system and exploitation faced by vulnerable individuals seeking medical treatment from a few private hospitals.
“About six years back, my mother had a severe chest pain and we had to rush her to a hospital in Kasargod. The doctors told me that she will not survive for a week. But they told me that an operation would save her. Though an operation was conducted as advised by the doctors, her situation became worse and we had to shift her to another hospital in Mangalore where she recovered and lived for another six years. That incident opened my eyes as I realised that a section of hospitals are highly profit motive and exploiting people in the name of treatment,” Kunjiraman told “Open Digest”.
Kunjiraman said the distressing reality of private hospitals exploiting patients and their families, extracting exorbitant sums of money with promises of saving lives, had prompted him to take up this huge task. “When I told my friends at the village about my plan they readily supported me. My family also stood with me. I approached a few doctors who readily agreed to work at the hospital which will be based on the principles of affordability, quality care and compassion,” he said. As the doctors working at the hospital need to be paid, a nominal fee would be charged for consultation from the patients who can afford to pay. “We will charge a nominal rate. But the treatment will be free for the needy and those from weak economic background,” he said.
The hospital named K K R Medical Clinic has been equipped with modern medical infrastructure, essential equipment, and a team of skilled healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive healthcare services to those in need.
“By offering affordable healthcare services, we aim to alleviate the stress and financial strain that often accompanies medical emergencies. The situation I faced when my mother fell sick was painful. I wanted to create a hospital where no one would have to go through what I have faced. Every person in my village deserves access to proper medical care, regardless of their financial status,” he said, adding though he was skeptical whether doctors would come and work at a hospital being set up by a stone mason, he got a positive response from many expert doctors when he approached them.
“I have promised them that they will get their salaries on time but not the huge paychecks which they get in huge private hospitals. Many of them have agreed to support us in our mission,” he added. The entire village has rallied behind Kunjiraman’s selfless act recognizing the invaluable contribution he has made to their well-being.